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Some Unusual
Experiences in Life

A Memoir By Doris (Sands) Hawker

~ An Un-BEE-lievable Day ~

My mother, Alma (Ream) Sands, attended Brushtown School, which was near the farm where she and her parents lived. It was a one-room school, as they all were back then.

I'm not sure her age at the time, but since she never went to high school, I'm sure she was probably less then a teenager. While attending school one day she encountered what was to be a frightening as well as an embarrassing situation.

Several of her classmates (boys by the way) decided to pull a prank as young boys like to do. They had discovered a yellow jacket's nest in the ground near the school. They devised a game in which all the other children would follow the leader. The pranksters would be the leaders of course. Their plan was to lead the unsuspecting participants over the in ground bees nest. As the game pursued the leaders first over the nest and my mother being the last of the pack was the victim of the prank. By the time she came over the nest the bees needless to say were pretty angry. They proceeded to swarm by that time and they swarmed up under her dress. They were stinging her everywhere. 

The teacher heard the disturbance outside and came out and found my mother in her dilemma. The fastest and only solution to the problem was soon solved by the teacher. She immediately took hold of my mother's dress and pulled it up over head. The boys had had their fun at my mother's expense. She did recover from the incident and as she was recounting the experience later to me was able to laugh about it. I was able to enjoy a good laugh too.

~ Spring Has a BOOT in Store ~

My grandparents' farm lay in the hills outside of Confluence, Pa. about 5 miles. The closest school from the home was about a mile and a half away. It was a long walk in the Spring and in The Fall. In the Winter it was even farther. Since the road from the farm to the school had a long hill of approximately a half of a mile, in the winter the road on this hill would drift shut. So my mother and her brothers and sisters would detour around the side of the hill where the snow was not so deep.

The children were walking one morning to school, taking this path as they usually did, when one of the boys experienced a surprise. The snow had formed a crust on top so they were walking on top of the crust. The surprise came when my mother's brother's foot went through the crust of the snow and when he pulled it back up he had no BOOT. They all went on to school not having time to search for his boot. The Boot was finally found after a Spring thaw.

~ Young Girls Can Tell Fishtales Too ~

One day my dad, uncle and a couple of my cousins (my uncleís boys, seen here) were going fishing. It was just a day trip. My sister and I wanted to go with them, well those macho guys thought we would be in the way. They said we would make too much noise and scare off all the fish. Off they went with their fine fishing poles and bait.  Needless to say we didnít get to go fishing with them. 

After they left, we still had fishing fever, so we decided to venture out on our own little fishing trip. We got some long poles and some line and fishing worms. We went down the road past my grandfatherís farmhouse which was next to our home. There was a small stream there and we decided to try our luck at fishing in this stream. Wasnít long until we began catching fish. To our excitement we soon had probably a half dozen or more nice sized rainbow trout. 

We returned home with our catch, well satisfied with our accomplishments. We were back home long before our fishing rivals returned. When they finally got back we went out to greet them. we asked how many fish they had caught? The reply was none. You want to know excitement. We ran in the house and brought out our catch for the day and they couldnít believe it. We had the last laugh at that experience.

~ 'Aunt' Donald and 'Uncle' Berth ~

When I was five years old my mother had to have surgery and while she was in the hospital I stayed with her sister Bertha and her husband Donald. I really enjoyed my stay, in fact I always enjoyed visiting them on their farm. I loved to gather eggs, and feed the chickens My Aunt Bertha would make butter in a large churn. It was like a big crock that had a frame that held the churn and had a handle to make it go round to mix and make the butter. 

While I was staying there one day she was making butter and had the lid off the top. I was playing in the room where she had the churn. I had my teddy bear, not so clean teddy bear, and I was tossing it in the air. The teddy bear came down into the churn. I never told my Aunt and she had not noticed it. She proceeded to make her butter. When the butter was all done and she was removing it from the churn she found my teddy bear. It was as if he had had a bath, all nice and clean. I really don't know if she used the butter or not.

As I said earlier I enjoyed visiting them. I called them Aunt Donald and Uncle Berth.

~ A Sixteen Year Old Doctor's Assistant ~

My sister was expecting her second child when I was 16 years old. This particular day my sister had her doctor's appointment near the end of her pregnancy. She went to the doctor that  day and that evening she went into labor. My sister was staying at home with my mother and dad because her husband was in the navy at the time. When she went into labor we called the doctor and he came to the house to deliver the baby. So when the baby was about to be delivered there was just four of us at the house -- my mother, my sister, the doctor and myself. 

Well it was nearing time for the baby to arrive and the doctor and my mother had their hands full. My sister was trying to administer the gas to help with the delivery. It was a hand held mask and as it was putting her to sleep her hand would fall away from her mouth. The doctor needed help and there was no one else to help but me. He called me into the room to hold the mask on her mouth. So at the young age of 16 I became a doctor's assistant and saw the birth of my niece Teresa. 

When my sister came out from under the gas and saw the baby was a girl she asked me to name her. I named her Teresa Evonne. My sister's husband had picked a girls name if the baby should be a girl. He wanted to call her Roxann. We didn't get his message until after we had named Teresa. They did have another baby later which was another girl and she is now named Roxann.

~ A Hose is not Always a Hose ~

One day my mother decided that one of our kittens needed a bath. She was bathing it in the back yard and told me to go into my dadís workshop and get some old rags to dry it off. My dad had stored some old rags in what used to be an old radio. The old radio had went bad and he used the back of it as the front taking out the radio parts and using the inside as a shelf. It had a rag hanging down on the outside in a curtain fashion. Inside was piled these old rags. I went in to get a rag and instead of lifting up the curtain and looking at what I was doing, I just pulled the curtain open enough to grab a rag. when I pulled the rag out a big something fell to the floor with a thud. At first I thought it was a hose all curled up. When I looked down to see what it was, to my surprise, I saw a very large black snake. It was starting to uncoil itself. 

It had been all curled up on top of those rags, probably waiting for some little mouse to come along and use those rags for building a nest. Well it didínt take me long to  leave the building. I didnít even use the steps outside the door. I jumped straight to the ground and was screaming as I went. My mother proceeded to find a weapon and went into the building and was able to end the future of old Mr. Blacksnake. I finally got over the shock but, kept thinking, what if I had grabbed hold of the snake when 

I put my hand in there. I probably would have fainted on the spot.

Click here to read a special memoir about Doris Hawker's grand parents, Joseph and Sadie (Harbaugh) Ream.  Click here to read a special memoir about Doris Hawker's mother, Alma (Ream) Sands. Click here to visit her website featuring homemade quilts.

Copyright © 1999-2001 Doris (Sands) Hawker.  Republished with permission.